Friday, May 30, 2008

i don't want to come back down from this cloud

Considering how big a fan I am of Orangette, I can't believe I hadn't seen these cute cups of Applesauce with a Crunchy Meringue Cap before. It took a Slashfood article about a Kitchn article before I found Molly's recipe.

These things are definitely elegant, but not quick by any means. I wanted really badly to make my own applesauce (I mean come on, vanilla?!), but time only permitted going to Trader Joe's for a jar of their Chunky Spiced Apples, spooning them into ramekins and topping them with a brown sugar meringue. I'm STILL out of sugar, so I subbed in sucanat. It took a very, very long time to whip up to soft peaks, at which point I gave up lest my Kitchen-Aid rebel and start smoking. A quick Google search in the middle of the whirring process suggested I should probably have halved the sugar content if I were subbing brown. Oh well.

I threw those babies in the oven at 250 degrees (instead of 225 to try to speed things up a bit). I'd say they were in for about an hour and 15 minutes before we had to leave for dinner, and they still weren't quite dry. I decided to turn off the oven and leave them in there while we ate.

Boo for that decision. While they were gorgeous and puffy (and when I should've taken a photo) before we left, they were deflated and kinda dry by the time we got back about an hour later. They still tasted pretty great - the meringue had turned into a brown sugar crust over the cinnamon-y apples. I had hoped for fluffy, marshmallow-y meringue goodness, though, so I was extremely disappointed.

Not to fret, though. I think I've decided to put this on the Thanksgiving menu, so I'll have plenty of time to experiment. First of all, I would like to make this again with the correct amount of baking time so I get what I'm supposed to from the meringue. For Thanksgiving, though, I might experiment with baking it in pie form, with a bit of a crust. I don't really like apple pie, but for some reason, this worked out for me.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

balmy days, sweet sangria

I swear I'm not stalking Peabody - I promise. It's just that every time I bounce across the Interweb, I find another one of her recipes that screams out to be made. The last one was these Peach Sangria Madeleines - perfect for my BFF's birthday, she of the peach sangria madness that was her Cuatro de Mayo party.

I've never made madeleines before, but I've enjoyed many of them. This was the perfect excuse to grab my Williams-Sonoma gift card, brave the Memorial Day Weekend mall traffic and finally purchase a madeleine pan. So really, making these was a mostly selfish endeavor. :)

I used sucanat instead of regular sugar since I was out, and I thought the flavor complemented the peaches really well. These are so completely simple to make as long as you have some time for the peaches to macerate and the batter to chill. I highly recommend making them immediately! Mine turned out so beautifully, albeit a little dark - don't know if that's because of the sucanat or the vegetable oil spray. They tasted absolutely perfect, though. So much so that I decided to skip the peach glaze - no need to gild the lily, I thought - but mainly because I'm lazy and had forgotten to buy peach juice. :P

I gave these to her on our way to the Police concert at the Hollywood Bowl tonight. She had a couple on the drive. It made super sad that they had run out of sangria (32 oz. sizes!) before we got to the concession stand, but at least we'll always have cookies. :)

Monday, May 26, 2008

in margaritaville

Yet another May birthday gift - this time for Matty's bandmate, Chris.

Chris is a tequila man. No two ways about it. We all have the most amazing time at happy hours at Malo and El Carmen. After their Leno appearance last Thursday (click on 5/22 to view), the boys took me to one of their new favorites, L Scorpion, where we could barely finish an amazingly large pitcher of margaritas (especially since the boy were still jetlagged from Japan).

It was then and there that I knew my decision to make a margarita-central baked good for his birthday was the right one. I had initially thought about making the Margarita Cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, but I was kind of burned out on cupcakes, so I started Googling. I was so thrilled to come across these Margarita Cookies at Smitten Kitchen.

I didn't have any flaky sea salt, so I chose to forego the sugar/salt "rim," but I otherwise followed the recipe exactly. I thought they were a little bland when they came out (probably due to foregoing that sugar/salt step), so I frantically searched for ways to jazz them up post-bake.

I still happened to have VCTOTW out, so I whipped up the Margarita Icing and spread a little on each cookie and topped them with some sprinkles. It would have been more fun to use that chunky colored sugar stuff, but you work with what you have, people.

That icing is unbelievable. Completely rescued the cookies. I just gave the box to Chris when I went to pick him and Matty up at the airport, and he happily munched on them all the way home. Another perk for me - now that I know how wonderful the icing is, I'm going to have to try it on the cupcakes. I've got another margarita-lover's birthday coming up in a couple months. :)

i'm hot, sticky sweet

One of the highlights of working at Room5 is our lovely bartendress, Dinora. Her birthday was last week, and we threw a birthday show in her honor, which featured her LA singing debut. It was an amazing night, but it was a little too crazy for gifts (especially gifts that involve food), so I stopped by the 5 tonight to drop off some Sticky Toffee Pudding for her.

There are loads of recipes on the Interweb, and I've never had sticky toffee pudding before, so I didn't really know where to start. However, when I saw that Peabody had one, I had to go with hers. She's never let me down in the past, and this was certainly no exception.

The only substitution I made was to use sucanat instead of regular sugar. Also, since I would be transporting these in my car and therefore not be able to serve them immediately from the oven, I bypassed the great-looking toffee sauce in favor of the Brown Rice Caramel Glaze from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. I didn't have brown rice syrup, so I used maple syrup to wonderful affect. I was a little concerned because the cornstarch made the sauce kinda gummy-looking, but once glazed and set on the pudding cupcakes, it was unbelievably delicious.

The recipe yielded 12 cupcakes and a ramekin full of deliciousness for me - you know how I like to QC everything before it leaves the kitchen. The brown sugar, both in the glaze and the sucanat in the puddings, made everything glowy and warm, as only brown sugar can. Everything was so perfect - sticky sweetness at its very best.

next year, things are gonna change

Don't these Lemon Mousse Brownies look absolutely amazing?

Unfortunately, they didn't taste amazing. I felt a little bad about bringing them to my friend Elissa's birthday barbecue. I definitely had to disclaim them by saying they were a little dry, but that wasn't nearly the half of my issues with them. And what upset me the most is that I followed the recipe to the letter, and I didn't get anything near as chocolatey, rich, chewy, ooey OR gooey as Lis managed to get.

The lemon layer was pretty, but the lemon flavor was completely lost under the ganache. I really wanted that to shine through because had Elissa had said lemon and chocolate were her flavors, and I had hoped to create something special for her. I think some of my problem was that I was imagining more of a lemon bar with a chocolate brownie base - something super lemon-y and gooey with just a bit of a cake base.

Ah well, I suppose that just means the hunt continues for a better recipe. I've got a whole 'nother year to experiment before Elissa's birthday comes around again. :)

Sunday, May 25, 2008

my selfish choice

Tristan (the girl Matty's been touring with) celebrated a birthday on Friday, and when I saw this Coconut Banana Bread with Key Lime Glaze, I knew I had to make it for her. First of all, it sounded unbelievably divine, and I believe she's either mentioned or blogged about her love for banana bread back in the day.

As I had a couple days before I was actually going to be able to bake them, I started to over-analyze, and started thinking key lime and banana might be weird together. I considered leaving out the glaze completely and/or replacing it with a drizzle of chocolate and/or adding chocolate chips to the batter. In the end, I kept everything as written, and I'm so glad I did.

The only change I made was to make them into mini-muffins. It was easier to send Matty off with a little box of them when they headed north for a recording session - I don't know how to attractively package a loaf of bread. Plus, I'd be able to QC them in case key lime and banana really was weird together.

I needn't have worried, though. I nearly swooned popping the first mini-muffin in my mouth. I loved it so much that I kept finding faults with the muffins (oh that one's a little dented, oh that one stuck to the pan a bit too much) so that I could eat more of them. The banana bread in and of itself was so excellent - perfectly soft and moist with just the right amount of banana flavor. The glaze added an incredible hit of sunshine-y happiness to the whole thing.

Thank goodness the recipe yielded about 60 mini-muffins so there was enough for my "taste-testing" and little gifts to Jeff and Marcela (at dinner last night) and Jay and Rebecca (at brunch this morning). Still plenty for breakfast tomorrow, too. :)

Saturday, May 24, 2008

baby's cookin' bacon

Bringing bacon and eggs to a whole new level is my version of Udon Soup with Bacon Consomme. When I first saw this recipe, it was about 95 degrees outside, and all I could do was sigh heavily because I didn't think it would be possible to make this any time soon. However, because the weather has been incredibly ridiculous lately, it rained last night and managed to stay cloudy and in the 50's this morning, so this became brunch today.

Matty is still incredibly jetlagged from his trip to Japan, so he slept a good 5 hours after I was up, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. That still wouldn't have been enough time to follow all the steps for the bacon consomme, so my lazy-man's version only included frying the bacon, simmering it in 3 quarts of water for an hour, straining it and refrigerating it. I didn't have time to refrigerate it long enough for the fat to congeal on top of the broth, but I did try to skim some of it off, although you can still tell from the photo that there was still quite a bit left. I will definitely start this process overnight next time, though, so I can remove the fat.

The lazy-man's version continues with store-bought brown rice udon noodles, and because I was not in the mood to clean up a deep-frying adventure, I just cut up the asparagus and added it to the boiling pasta in the last 2 minutes of cooking.

I forgot to look for ramps, so I subbed a couple chopped green onions in the broth. Since this was technically breakfast, and mostly because I just love it, I poached an egg in the broth and then spooned it over top of the noodle/asparagus mix.

Man, was it good. You can definitely taste the bacon in the broth. It was the perfect richness to contrast against the silky udon strands and the fresh, barely-cooked asparagus. The next time it gets chilly, I may just have to make multiple batches of this consomme and freeze it for the next time I need a soup fix.

Friday, May 23, 2008

you get what you need

I could have saved myself quite a bit of money if my stomach wasn't bigger than my eyes and I was able to resist the beautiful halibut fillets at Whole Foods today. Matty and I no longer have the eating stamina we used to because we're trying to be more aware of our portion sizes and what they do to our waistlines. However, it was the first meal I was able to cook since Matty got back from a week-long Japanese tour, so I decided to go all out.

I've been thinking of this Broiled Fish with Green Tea Salt ever since I read about it, and I knew it was going to be the welcome-home dinner. Then, I saw these ridiculously adorable Crepes Filled with Corn and Nutmeg and knew I had my side.

The green tea salt wasn't as magical as I thought it'd be, but it was definitely a cool and interesting addition. I may have overdone it with brushing on the sesame oil because that was the overpowering flavor.

I think I would have liked the fish a lot more if I wasn't concentrating so hard on trying to finish all of it, then considering saving it but knowing it wouldn't be as good reheated the next day, and then feeling bad about wasting it if I didn't finish it, but then reluctantly ending up saving it anyway. Whew. This is what goes on in my head. Anyway, note for next time: 1/2 lb. of fish is too much for one serving. I think I'd take it down to 1/4 lb., especially with a side as lovely and rich as these crepes.

As you can see, I didn't manage to make bundles out of them, so I resigned myself to making normal crepes. My crepes were also a little too thick, but I'm not quite deft enough yet to make paper-thin ones. To give you an idea of the thickness, I only got 8 crepes out of a recipe that Patricia said makes 12. Oh well. They were still my favorite part of the meal, and I look forward to fine-tuning my crepe-making skills with all the leftover filling mixture I still have in the fridge. Sometimes, it's good not to be perfect. :)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

crunchy, crunchy

This morning's breakfast consisted of a bit of vanilla yogurt and this amazing Peanut Butter Granola. I may have overbaked it a touch (20 minutes in a 375-degree oven was too much for the layer I had spread out on a cookie sheet), but it was still remarkable. Next time, I'm doubling the recipe. I didn't have agave syrup, so I just subbed in more maple syrup, but otherwise, I followed the recipe to a tee. Per the suggestions, I added some cinnamon and chocolate chips. It was one of the more decadent breakfasts I've had in a while, but I could still tell myself it was healthy. After all, it is granola. :P

With Matty coming home later today, I had to stock up on granola since it's his breakfast of choice these days, so I also made up a batch of Macadamia Maple Granola. I was a little wary of adding lime zest, but who am I to question Clotilde? Man, it smelled like pure heaven while baking, and I could have dove head-first into the oven to be closer to the aroma. I wish I had chopped the macadamia nuts a little finer, but I'm lazy, and I'll accept the consequences of that. :)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

what would i do without you

I find it really rough to motivate myself to actually cook for just one. That's why I pretty much never cooked (and definitely never turned on my oven) when I was living on my own before Matty and I became an item. I strongly related to Sassy Radish's admission of being "shockingly lazy" when it came to cooking for myself. However, as she found this Korean Pancake irresistible on David Lebovitz' blog, I found it irresistible on hers.

I had plenty of produce stockpiled from Matty's birthday barbecue, and this was the perfect opportunity to use some of it up. I didn't have scallions, but I had green onions, so in they went. I added half of a green bell pepper, diced, at the same time before pouring in the pancake batter. I sort of wanted a fried egg on top of the pancake, so I just cracked one on top of the pancake as it was cooking. Unfortunately, it doesn't cook very evenly, so next time, I'll just follow instructions and lightly beat the egg before adding.

Visually stunning? No. But what it is is an unbelievably good meal for being so freaking simple. I see this in many more lonely night suppers, using whatever I happen to have in my fridge.

Monday, May 12, 2008

never enough

This Mascarpone-Stuffed Roast Chicken was supposed to be a Mother's Day meal for my mom last night. I could have sworn I took a photo from further away for the perspective, but I guess I didn't because this was all that showed up when I uploaded my photos to my computer.

So I ended up only using one 4-lb. chicken because it was just me and Matty for tonight's dinner. I followed the recipe to the letter, and took it out when the thigh registered 170 degrees. I stuck it under the broiler for a couple minutes to brown, which it managed to do fairly well. Except the mofo still wasn't cooked for some reason. To make a long story short, I contemplated drop-kicking the entire roasting pan, chicken and all, down the street and very nearly had a nervous breakdown (we're talking sobbing, people) about not having dinner on the table in a timely fashion. Thankfully, I have a much cooler head in Matty, and he just suggested we leave it in the oven for another hour, by which time it turned into pure perfection. I still don't want to see chicken again for a very long time, though.

It's just as well, then, that only the Green Tea White Chocolate Mascarpone Brownies with Chocolate Ganache made it to my parents' place. My day got completely away from me, and Mom insisted I not run to the grocery store to get stuff when she could just as soon cook. Despite my best intentions, she ended up cooking her own Mother's Day meal.

I'm awful in so many ways. But these brownies definitely redeemed me.

Apologies for the boring photo (nothing is going right tonight) - my mother and I actually made cute little plates surrounded by strawberries yesterday, but of course, I left my camera at home, and my camera phone is even more pathetic than this regular camera.

I still haven't been able to find straight-up matcha powder, though, so I'm still using the TJ's Matcha Latte mix. I used 4 Tablespoons, and decreased the sugar by 1/4 cup. I really do need to get real matcha, though, because the color and flavor isn't very present. I also thought the ganache overwhelmed the other flavors, but Matty disagreed, and Mom thought everything was awesome anyway. The brownies were very fudgy and wonderful, but I think I will definitely be trying again with real matcha and perhaps a white chocolate ganache.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

everything i do, i do it for you

I can't quite believe it's been a year since I wrote my first post, an ode to cupcakes I made for Matty's birthday. Fittingly, and to reflect my growth in the kitchen, this anniversary post will detail a full barbecue's worth of cooking for my love.

Matty forbade me from spending too much time in the kitchen since he wanted me to be out in the sun with him, so I did a lot of prepping Friday night. I didn't even have the most work to do - that was left for our dear friends Chet, who made his amazing jambalaya, and Jeff, who created three separate marinades for two pieces of tri-tip and a brisket. But this ain't their food blog, so here's what I made. :P

I started everyone off with Caprese Bites. Since I'm cheap, and the pre-marinated mozzarella balls at TJ's cost twice as much as the balls in water, I went with the cheaper ones and marinated them myself. I drained the water, and drizzled in about two Tablespoons of olive oil, a minced clove of garlic and a shake or two of red pepper flakes. The next morning, I threaded them onto toothpicks with a bit of basil leaf and a cherry tomato.

Next up was a Chopped Veggie Salad with Watermelon and Feta Cheese that apparently I didn't manage to grab a photo of. Matty's initial response to reading the recipe was, "That sounds adventurous," but I think everyone really liked it (thank goodness, because I had doubled the recipe to feed all of our guests). It is a strange set of pairings, but it was very tasty. I subbed some sliced olives for the cucumber since Matty doesn't like cucumber, and I didn't make the dressing because we had a vegan friend coming over. I also kept the feta as a side to accommodate both the vegan and the lactose-intolerant. I'm sure the dressing is lovely, but it's a pretty wet salad as it is, so I didn't really feel it was necessary.

I am so glad I came across this Mock Ceviche recipe. I've been meaning to make ceviche for ages, but the lime "cooking" process always made me nervous. I'm fine with sacrificing my own stomach should anything go awry, but I couldn't justify risking it with our friends. This was completely easy with 3 16-oz. bags of TJ's Seafood Blend (a frozen mix of calamari, shrimp and bay scallops) and everything else scaled double to, again, feed all of our guests. I threw all the seafood into the boiling water at the same time because it was about midnight before I started on this, and I wasn't about to separate the different kinds from the bag. Since it was frozen, I'd say it took about 10 minutes for everything to fully cook. I included all the optional ingredients (bell pepper, tomato, avocado), and thought it was damn perfect.

One last side - Heidi's Salsa of the Year. Like Heidi, I've also been trying to recreate a favorite salsa (the burnt habenero from Malo), but unlike Heidi, I'm not advanced enough to be experimenting with peppers. I'm glad I came across her recipe, though - I was encouraged that hers called for an addition of cream, which I knew the Malo salsa had. I couldn't find smoked serrano peppers, but the guy at Vons suggested the morita peppers were similar, so I trusted him. Turns out moritas are smoked jalapenos. And the dried serranos I was looking for are called arbol. Which there were plenty of everywhere I looked. Which meant I didn't even have to stop at Vons. But oh well.

Because of everything else I was trying to do, I ended up letting the peppers soak for about an hour. I wonder if that takes down the heat factor, but I'm kind of scared to let it soak for any less now because the salsa still came out balls-hot. The final verdict was that it didn't really taste like Malo's, but it was really excellent. I doubled this recipe as well, and there were no leftovers. It'll be fun to experiment with all the other dried chiles. I even bought a little 1/2 oz. package of dried habaneros. They will probably be the death of me.

And for the most important part of any meal - dessert. Two choices for my sweetness - Curd-Filled Cupcakes and a trusted favorite, Key Lime Pie.

You'll notice my very fancy graham cracker border (insert sarcasm here). I should have used a tart pan, but I used a pie plate. No difference in taste, of course, but the amount of Key lime custard the recipe yields doesn't come up very high in a pie plate. I was planning on making a meringue to hide it, but Matty didn't want one, so I had to make do. It was stressing me out so much that it wasn't perfect, that just prior to serving, I had to scrape down the extra crust as you can see in the photo. Ah, the trials and tribulations of being a perfectionist. :P

The cupcakes were a variation on a most delicious dessert Matty and I shared at Stella Mare's on our weekend away in Santa Barbara. It was just simply called "Lemon Cake," but let me tell you, it was no lemon cake. It was this little round of cake, topped with some lemon curd, then topped with a good inch of mascarpone that had been caramelized with a torch. I very nearly died. These cupcakes were the easiest way I could think of replicating the cakes for a crowd. We all know my artistic skills are severely lacking, so I wasn't about to be baking off sheets and sheets of cake and stamping out circles to build into beautiful towers of goodness.

I think everyone was a really big fan of the cupcakes, and they were definitely worthy of holding the birthday candle. Sign #1 the recipe was going to go right: it's originally from Magnolia Bakery. I love the Magnolia recipe for red velvet cupcakes, so I figured the same might hold true for the vanilla. It's not too sweet, and the curd (Key lime for us) gives it a nice burst of sunshine-y freshness. I didn't make a cream cheese frosting - rather, I used a mascarpone-Greek yogurt mixture inspired by this Strawberries with Coconut Cream concoction, and it was the perfect foil. Also not too sweet, but rich and wonderful.

We closed out the night by dipping fresh strawberries and blackberries into some leftover lemon curd. I'm pretty sure life doesn't get any more perfect. Happy birthday, my sweet.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

fiesta forever

I was planning on making Spaghetti with Chorizo and Almonds for a catch-up dinner with our friend Laura yesterday - it was Cinco de Mayo, after all, and I wanted to theme it up without going too overboard. I thought chorizo would be a nice small nod to the holiday.

Unfortunately, I got some heavy news about my aunt, so I wanted to stay by the phone in case I needed to run out to her. That meant cancelling dinner, but I'm glad I did because honestly, this dish was just rather meh.

I changed it up a little - I used whole wheat fettuccine (because I thought I had spaghetti, but didn't), used an entire 16-oz. container of chicken chorizo, added a 6-oz. bag of spinach and one diced tomato. It was fine, and I actually really liked having almonds in the pasta, but it was nothing I would have been proud to serve a guest. I will agree with Deb, though - it's quite good for lunch leftovers!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

dig right in and do the clam

Thankfully, this Lima Beans with Clams recipe is not as boring as it sounds. I've actually had it bookmarked for a while despite the name, and I had planned to make this all weekend, but life got in the way. Luckily, I was able to fit it on the menu tonight because I was really afraid the clams would go bad soon.

To make it a little more substantial, I added 12 oz. asparagus cut into 1-inch pieces at the same time I added the lima beans. I used some leftover spumante instead of the dry white, and I don't think my palate is sensitive enough to have even A-B'ed it, but the broth that came forth was great - the wine, some juice from the clams and all the veggies reduced down to a really sweet, refreshing broth that balanced really well with the kalamata olive loaf I served to sop it all up.

Dinner was literally ready in 20 minutes, including the time it took to clean the clams. You really can't ask for more to close out the weekend.

once you've had a taste of her you'll never be the same

This is truly the best cake I have ever made in my life. It was just the perfect amount of sweetness, had an amazingly moist texture, and I could have easily eaten the whole pan by myself. Pardon the photo - I could hardly see in the beautiful brightness of Los Angeles on Cuatro de Mayo.

My friend Christina hosted the party poolside, and my contribution was this Tres Leches Cake. I pretty much followed the recipe to the letter. I think I missed where the flour goes in, so I just added it right before the egg whites were folded in. I also changed up the soaking method - instead of setting it over a baking sheet, I inverted the cake back in the 13x9x2 pan, and then let everything soak overnight in the fridge.

I made some Kahlua Strawberries to go with them, following the template of Nicole's Bailey's Raspberries. I figured Kahlua was more appropriate for our celebration, being from Mexico and all. :P

Everyone loved the cake. I was thrilled. I don't believe I've ever received such gushing praise for any other thing I've ever made. You can believe that this is making an appearance at more gatherings, Mexican-themed or not.

For the cake:
1 1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
6 large eggs, separated
1/2 t. cream of tartar
1 1/2 c. sugar
1/3 c. cold water
2 t. vanilla extract
1 t. almond extract

For the tres leches:
1 c. heavy cream
1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 5-oz. can evaporated milk
1 t. vanilla extract

additional whipped cream for serving

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and butter and flour a 9x13-inch pan.

2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

3. In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites with the cream of tartar until soft peaks form; set aside.

4. In another bowl, beat the egg yolks until pale yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

5. Add the sugar and continue to beat the egg yolks until the mixture is very thick and falls from the beaters in ribbons.

6. Add the cold water, vanilla and almond extracts to the egg yolk mixture. Mix well. Stir in the flour mixture. Gently fold in the beaten egg whites.

7. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and level it with a spatula or spoon. Bake the cake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.

8. Let the cake cool in the pan for 20 minutes.

9. With a knife, loosen the cake from the edges of the pan. Unmold the cake onto a large serving platter or onto the back of another sheet pan. Using a fork or a skewer, poke holes all over the cake’s surface. Let it cool for another 30 minutes.

10. Combine all of the tres leches ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Once the cake has cooled, slowly pour the tres leches mixture, pausing every now and then to allow the cake to soak up the mixture. Once the entire mixture has been absorbed, cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours before serving.

11. If desired, serve with sweetened whipped cream.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

it'll be better than before

When I was a kid, a dessert that we always had when company came over was iced canned lychees. Yep. Dump a can of lychees with a little of the syrup they came in into a rocks glass, stick a couple ice cubes in, and serve.

I think that still happens on a fairly regular basis, but trust me, not when I can help it. Especially for my parents' anniversary. Matty and I headed over to my parents' for lunch to celebrate 33 years of marriage, and brought this Lychee Butter Cake in cupcake form.

It was pretty damn tasty. I actually would have preferred even more lychee flavor, so I think next time, I'll add more syrup. I also had a small problem with dryness, so the additional syrup would probably kill both birds with one stone. I'm sure the dryness was no fault of the recipe, and was more likely the adjusted baking time for my cupcakes. I ended up taking them out around 19 minutes, but they may have been better taken out earlier.

I piped on a Swiss Buttercream frosting, but did a pretty poor job of it, so I covered up most of my mess with a strawberry slice. The frosting was a pretty good pairing, but I think I'll try a coconut glaze the next time I make this.